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  • 2006 USC News
  • Mike Williams (born January 4, 1984 in Tampa, Florida) is an American football wide receiver. As a star in college he set USC freshman records for touchdowns and yards as a wide receiver. Williams declared for the 2004 NFL Draft, but he was declined by a federal judge. He could not return to college afterwards because he had already hired an agent.

    Williams played split end (SE) wide receiver during most of his games for the USC Trojans. Williams played in all 26 games during his freshman and sophomore years at USC, and started 15 of those games.

    It's an understatement to say that Williams made a huge impact as a freshman wide receiver in 2002, his first year at USC. He was perhaps the top freshman receiver in the country. Overall in 2002 while appearing in all 13 games (he started against Washington and Oregon), he caught a team-high 81 passes for 1,265 yards (15.6 avg.) with 14 TDs, plus he was 1-of-1 passing for 19 yards, ran for 9 yards on 2 carries (4.5 avg.) and had a tackle, forced fumble and fumble recovery. He was named to the 2002 The Sporting News Freshman All-American first team, Scripps/Football Writers Freshman All-American first team, Rivals.com Freshman All-American first team and was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. He was 16th nationally in receiving yards (97.3, fifth in Pac-10) and 20th in receptions (6.2, third in Pac-10). His 14 TD catches was second most in the nation. His 81 catches in 2002 are third on the USC season list. He had 5 100-yard receiving games in 2002 (including a stretch of 4 in a row-the most at USC since Keyshawn Johnson had 12 in a row in 1994 and 1995). He caught a TD pass in 7 consecutive games. His 14 TD receptions tied the USC season record first set by Johnnie Morton in 1994. His 3 TD receptions against Washington in 2002 tied a USC game record and his 13 catches at Oregon was a USC freshman mark. He owns the NCAA, Pac-10 and USC freshman season records for receiving yards (1,265) and TD catches (14, sharing the NCAA mark with Florida's Jabar Gaffney in 2000) and the Pac-10 and USC frosh mark for catches (81). He made the 2002 CNNSI.com All-American honorable mention, plus All-Pac-10 second team and The Sporting News Freshman All-Pac-10 first team, as well as The Sporting News All-Pac-10 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year. Against Auburn, Williams made his Trojan debut by catching 4 passes for 56 yards off the bench. He had a game-high 7 grabs for 90 yards at Colorado. He had an 11-yard catch at Kansas State, then caught 4 passes for 62 yards, including a pair of TDs (11 and 16 yards), against Oregon State. He caught 6 passes for 112 yards at Washington State, including a 55-yard TD bomb in which he outjumped the defender, then had 6 receptions for 103 yards with a 21-yard TD against California. Against Washington, he not only tied a USC game record with his 3 TD grabs, but his 9 catches in the game equaled Kareem Kelly's USC freshman mark and his 159 receiving yards-a then-career high-was his third consecutive 100-yard performance (the most by a Trojan since Keyshawn Johnson had 12 in a row in 1994 and 1995. At Oregon, he had another huge game with 13 receptions (a USC freshman record) for 226 yards (both career bests) and 2 TDs (35 and 16 yards)-his fourth consecutive 100-yard game and fifth game in a row with a TD grab. He caught 8 passes for 94 yards (with an 8-yard TD) at Stanford while setting the Pac-10 freshman season record for receptions. He added an 18-yard TD grab (he also completed a 19-yard pass to Colbert) against Arizona State. At UCLA, he had a game-high 6 catches for 66 yards. He had 10 catches for 169 yards (both game highs) with 2 TDs (6 and 19 yards) against Notre Dame. Against Iowa in the Orange Bowl, he had 6 catches for a game-high 99 yards (with an 18-yard TD grab) to set the NCAA freshman season marks for receptions, receiving yards and TD catches.

    Just a sophomore in 2003, Williams was one of the nation's most dynamic and dangerous wide receivers. Overall in 2003 while starting all 13 games, he had 95 catches for 1,314 yards (13.8 avg.) and 16 TDs, plus he gained 26 yards on 3 rushes (8.7 avg.) off of backwards passes, completed both of his pass attempts for 38 yards (including a 15-yard TD against Michigan in the Rose Bowl), blocked a field goal and made a tackle. He was sixth nationally in receptions (7.3, second in the Pac-10) and 10th in receiving yards (101.1, third in Pac-10). His 16 TD catches in 2003 were a USC season record, the most in the Pac-10 in 2003 and the most by a Trojan in a season since Marcus Allen scored 23 in 1981. His 95 catches in 2003 were second on the USC season ladder (third on the Pac-10 list) and his 1,314 receiving yards in 2003 were fourth on the USC season chart (10th on the Pac-10 ladder). He had 7 100-yard receiving games in 2003. A finalist for the 2003 Biletnikoff Award, he was eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was the CBS.Sportsline.com National Player of the Year. He was a 2003 consensus All-American as he was named to the 2003 AP, Football Writers, Walter Camp, ESPN.com, SI.com, Collegefootballnews.com and Rivals.com All-American first teams (the first All-American first team Trojan wide receiver since Keyshawn Johnson in 1995 and the first USC sophomore honoree since Tony Boselli in 1992), The Sporting News All-American second team and the 2003 All-Pac-10 first team. He also made the ESPN.com All-Pac-10 and Collegefootballnews.com All-Pac-10 first teams. He won USC's Player of the Game versus UCLA award. He was named to the prestigious 2003 Playboy Pre-Season All-American team. At Auburn, he had a game-best 8 catches for 104 yards with a 5-yard TD. He grabbed a game-high 10 passes for 124 yards, including a pair of touchdowns (a 1-yarder to open USC's scoring and then an 18-yarder in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach) against BYU. He had 3 grabs for 70 yards (with a 33-yard TD) against Hawaii, then 6 catches for 96 yards at California (plus he was credited with a 17-yard run while catching a backwards pass). He had 5 catches for 108 yards at Arizona State. He tied a USC game record with 3 TD catches (40, 18 and 3 yards, all in the second quarter) while collecting 7 receptions for 129 yards against Stanford. He added 9 catches for 112 yards at Notre Dame (with a 7-yard TD). He led USC with 6 catches for 43 yards at Washington. He added 4 grabs for 43 yards (including a 13-yard TD) against Washington State, plus he completed a scrambling 23-yard pass and had 2 runs for 9 yards (on backwards passes). At Arizona, he had 11 catches for 157 yards and 3 TDs (15, 22 and 26 yards)-all game bests-while setting the USC career record for touchdown receptions. He had 11 catches for 181 yards with 2 TDs (21 and 4 yards)-all in the first half-against UCLA. Against Oregon State, he had 7 catches for 59 yards and 2 TDs (a 14-yarder and then a spectacular one-handed, Frisbee-like 9-yard catch) and he also blocked a field goal. Against Michigan in the Rose Bowl, he had 8 catches for 88 yards and threw a 15-yard TD pass off a reverse.

    For a while, it appeared that All-American wide receiver Williams-a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award-would not return for his 2004 junior season. Following his 2003 All-American season, he applied for the NFL draft as a second-year sophomore based on a court ruling that struck down the NFL's requirement that its players had to be out of high school for 3 years. But he was not selected because of a judicial stay on that ruling. Then, when that ruling was overturned in the late spring, he sought to have his collegiate eligibility restored by the NCAA (he had become ineligible because he had signed with an agent and had not enrolled in classes in the 2004 spring semester). As of early August, he was awaiting the NCAA's ruling.

    He was selected 10th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

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